IOC President Won't Attend Any of the Paralympic Games
Thomas Bach has a pretty busy schedule and won't be able to make any of the Paralympics (which he's known about forever).
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Bach – the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – will not attend any of the Paralympic Games in Rio due to "long-standing engagements."
The IOC recently announced that Bach would miss the opening ceremony to attend the state funeral of the former president of West Germany, Walter Scheel. Wednesday's ceremony was in fact the only part of the Paralympic Games Bach was scheduled to attend; now that he's left the country, an IOC spokesperson told Around the Rings he would not be flying back to Brazil at any point.
There's been some speculation that Bach's absence has more to do with the IOC's frostiness towards the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) than it does a jam-packed calendar. The Paralympics will be held without any Russian participation – due to the country's widespread, government-aided doping programme – which is a much harsher punishment than the IOC levied for the Olympics. According to Around the Rings:
"After the International Paralympic Committee's blanket ban on Russia from the Rio Games, Bach's absence from the 11-day event may be seen as a snub to the IPC – perhaps a sign of deteriorating relations between the two bodies. The IOC was opposed to a complete ban on Russia. It decided against suspending the country entirely from the Rio Olympics."
Everyone is playing nice, however, and the IPC says it "fully understands" that Bach simply cannot get out of the "long-standing" engagements he made despite knowing that the Paralympics always happen a month after the Olympics.
There is also the Olympic ticketing scandal, which saw Pat Hickey, Olympic Council of Ireland president, locked up by Brazilian police. Hickey and nine others were charged with ticket touting, conspiracy, and ambush marketing. The investigation is ongoing and there have been calls for Bach to speak with Brazilian police, so it's possible he's pulling a Lochte.
All of this comes at a tumultuous time for the Paralympics, including financial hardships that resulted in "significant budget cuts" for these Games, limiting the number of "workers, transportation options and sports venues."